Judge Refuses Bail for Fort Dix Suspects A federal judge in New Jersey has ordered that the six young immigrants arrested for plotting an attack on Fort Dix be kept in detention. At a hearing, most of the men waived their rights to argue for bail. But their lawyers took the opportunity to say the men are not radical Islamic terrorists, as prosecutors have said.
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Judge Refuses Bail for Fort Dix Suspects

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Judge Refuses Bail for Fort Dix Suspects

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Judge Refuses Bail for Fort Dix Suspects

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

A federal judge in New Jersey today ordered the continued detention of six young immigrants arrested for plotting an attack on Fort Dix. At a hearing this morning, most of the men waived their right to argue for bail, but their lawyers did began to challenge the claims that these men are radical, Islamic terrorists.

NPR's Robert Smith reports from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

ROBERT SMITH: The six men each walked into the courtroom looking cocky with grins on their faces. Elvir Duka, who goes by the name Elvis, thumped his chest and waved. His brother, Dritan, put his hand on his heart. Mohamed Shnewer kissed his fingers and pointed toward his family. Their mothers and sisters and aunts - some wearing Islamic headscarves - wept and cried out.

Only Shnewer made a serious attempt to get out on bail. His lawyer argued that his client was a devoted 22-year-old, who quit college to drive a cab and help out his family, who had never been in trouble before. Prosecutors made it clear that he was in trouble now. They argued that he was a man who cased out military installations, who threatened to light up Fort Dix with gunfire. Bail denied.

The men shuffled out of court more depressed than when they arrived. Outside the courtroom, Shnewer's lawyer, Rocco Siperone, warned reporters not to be fooled by the smile.

Mr. ROCCO SIPERONE (Mohamed Shnewer's Lawyer): My client is absolutely distraught. Obviously, he's trying to keep up a brave face for his family because they're going through a lot, both emotionally with respect to what they're son is experiencing and because of all the attention that's been heaped on them - not of their choosing. I think he tried to put on a face for his family, frankly.

SMITH: Shnewer lived with his parents and sisters on a quiet curvy street in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The family had a Palestinian background. Shnewer was born in Jordan but became a U.S. citizen here. For 14 months, investigators watched Shnewer and his friends, claiming that he hid guns and a map to Fort Dix in his house. Now, the curtains are drawn there - the lawn, overgrown.

Mr. FRANK DODD(ph): This is absolutely frightening.

SMITH: Frank Dodd - a neighbor across the street - said the house used to be bustling, where Shnewer and his friends coming and going at all hours. He and other neighbors also noticed the cars with tinted windows watching the house.

Mr. DODD: Oh, in any given day - when this was hot and heavy - there were five or six unmarked Homeland Security or FBI people, running through out development.

SMITH: Shnewer's friend and alleged co-conspirator, Sadar Tatar, lived a block and a half away. In the apartment building, neighbors remembered him as a kid with attitude - thinking he was smarter than the world. Tatar's family was from Turkey. It was his father who owned the pizza joint outside of Fort Dix, where the men obtained the map of the complex.

Tatar worked at another pizza place here in Cherry Hill. Min Ong(ph), the manager, says they nicknamed him Rambo after he broke the window of his car.

Mr. MIN ONG (Manager, Pizza Place): He lost his key to his car one day. Instead of being all trying and like, unhinge the (Unintelligible). He just put a brick in the windshield and unlock the door.

SMITH: And so the whole thing is shattered?

Mr. ONG: Yeah.

SMITH: Ong, the manager, went to high school with the group, and says the religious transformation in just the last few years.

Mr. ONG: They were like the kids - they were like very religious. From what I remember with Mohamad, he wasn't like that. Elvis, never them, never him.

SMITH: Back in Shnewer's neighborhood, Mohamad's father has emerged from the house to try to mow that overgrown lawn that appeared on some many news reports. He says the family will speak to the media in next week to defend their son. But for now…

Unidentified Man: Please, no comment. Please.

SMITH: Tatar's father - who runs the pizza place - says he's been receiving threatening phone calls and had someone kick his door in the middle of the night, calling him a Muslim bastard. He is thinking of just shutting the place down and leaving town.

Robert Smith, NPR News, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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